Bodyweight Cardio Circuits
This is the latest blog post from Mark Cosgrove – fitness model competitor in the Miami Pro event. Read all about his bodyweight cardio approach and see how it could apply to your training….
Believe me when I say I have pounded the pavements and the treadmill. All for one thing – to help me get ‘ripped’. The ‘runners high’ was a nice bonus too though! At my peak I’d run over 40 miles per week, every week, without fail. Yes, it worked but it also messed up my ankles and my knees. Thankfully not to the point where it causes me problems now, I slowed down before then. That amount of running also prevented me adding quality mass which I wanted.
I’m not saying don’t run, I’m saying don’t just use running as your only tool in your quest to lose weight or get ‘ripped’. There’s plenty of others, which brings me onto bodyweight circuits.
Bodyweight circuits are a fantastic way to help change your body composition and increase your fitness levels.
By far the most appealing thing to me about these types of workouts is that they’re quick, hard and can be performed anywhere. So there’s no excuse to not do them! For people who are obsessed with the calories they burn during a workout please take note. You may not burn as many calories during the actual workout itself, compared with doing 15 hours on a treadmill, but, the amount of calories you burn throughout the day will be far greater.
Let me explain why…
The extra calorie burn is thanks to something called post-workout oxygen consumption. Basically your body has to make up for all the oxygen it has used during an intense session and therefore has to work harder to replace it. This in turn raises your metabolic rate. Causing you to burn more calories post-session.
Sample Bodyweight Circuits
I started doing these types of workouts in addition to more recognised cardiovascular workouts around a year ago and they have certainly helped me get to where I want. The strength benefits are valuable when you can’t get to the gym, they provide a low impact alternative to long strenuous runs on a treadmill or outside, they can also be an excellent recovery workout following an intense training day and they provide a test of mental strength – vital to anyone serious about achieving a training goal.
At the minute I am not using them in my regime. Cardio work for me currently is minimal as I’m trying to add as much mass as I can. For the cardio that I do do, I use the stationary bike. 2 sessions per week. No more, no less. This just helps keep my body fat in check, although that at the minute is not a priority.
You can perform bodyweight circuits for any goal. Like I mentioned, these are great to improve general fitness and you’re also less likely to get bored doing them. They can be modified in a number of ways to suit any fitness level. I like to choose a range of exercises performed and make sure my heart rate is kept high.
You can either perform the exercises for time or repetitions. I like to do it for time, but that’s just my personal preference. I would recommend this particular way to measure your work load to anyone as there’s no cheating time – you go till the time you have set has ended!
Here’s a list of the best exercises I use when performing bodyweight circuits….
- Jump Squat
- Push Up
- Pull Up
- High knees
- Mountain Climbers
There’s no top secret exercise, you would have heard of all of those. Its not supposed to be complicated, they’re simple exercises that if performed correctly with right amount of intensity can have you gasping for air within minutes. Most of these have variations to them, for example the push up can be performed a number of ways, wide, close, diamond, on knees and also performed as a plyometric push up (explode off the floor at the top position).
Lunges are another, these can be done alternately, laterally and again performed as a plyometric lunge. Choose what you’re capable of doing. Use these exercises or look around and find others. These are just the ones I like to use.
Be creative and put together a few bodyweight circuits using these exercises and you won’t go far wrong! The rules are simple – keep the workouts short, simple and intense!